Why Can't Slow Receivers be Fixed?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by socal404, Mar 4, 2012.

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  1. Daggett

    Daggett Cool Member

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    Possibly true, but I'm trying to not call them completely worthless. ;) What exactly are the specs on an HR20? Some googling didn't turn up anything.

    Another thing I've wondered about is why it takes so long to cold boot. Even after the system test is finished, it takes about 8 minutes, what is it doing that takes so long? Even if it has to re-download the entire guide; I wouldn't think that's more than about 200MB, which would only take about 50 seconds at a typical Ka bandwidth of 30Mbps.

    I think that's why it's maybe not such a good idea to keep squeezing more stuff on to old hardware, maybe it just can't handle it. Although, it was pretty slow to begin with...
    As for costs, I would think manufacturing is the major expense, and not so much the actual components. For example, an ARM8 1GHz processor only costs $25 when bought in bulk.
     
  2. bobcamp1

    bobcamp1 Icon

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    The functionality that D* needs isn't offered by a lot of mfrs. They were pretty much at the mercy of Broadcom. I don't know if D* chose the fastest chipset that Broadcom was offering at the time. I think D* was frustrated with Broadcom's chipset roadmap which was why they went to Conexant for the HR24.

    But it isn't just the hardware. The HR21/22/23 have the same chipset as the cable Tivo HD. The Tivo HD feels a lot quicker with the SD menus. Also, the THR22-100 is obviously the same hardware as the HR22-100, but feels a lot quicker. So Tivo's done a better job at optimizing their code for that chipset.
     
  3. JonW

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    When it comes to manufacturing, there are generally multipliers on every part to account for indirect expenses. So adding a $25 part may add $100 to the selling price - all depending how the company computes their overhead, profit margins, distribution costs, etc.

    So, this can be pretty significant.

    Circuit board cost, assembly and testing are all separate line items and are not included in the overhead calculation; but things like accounting, customer service, R&D, marketing I believe typically are.

    Assembly and test costs can be kept pretty low in this day and age...
     
  4. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I'm not sure who selects/picks which parts to use. DirecTV contracts the designing to the manufactures, with some requirements of course.
    It's odd that the -500 series is the only one that uses a different chips set from all the others. Not sure who made the choice. :shrug:
     
  5. dsw2112

    dsw2112 Always Searching

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    To me, this is the most interesting aspect of the debate. It's a simple question (with a likely non-simple answer.)
     
  6. bobcamp1

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    D* has to pick the chipset, otherwise there would be no code to match! You can't just take the Broadcom code, put it in an HR24, and expect everything to work.
     
  7. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I'm not sure it's that simple:
    HR24-500 was the first released, which doesn't use Broadcom.
    HR24-100 & 200 came next which do use Broadcom.
    Install file sizes for the same version:
    -500 17.3 MB
    -100 16.9 MB
    -200 16.7 MB
    Yes, in the development stage the hardware and software does need to be integrated, but I don't, and neither do you, know who makes which decision.
     
  8. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Hall Of Fame

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    I guess that if I can complain about D* and speed, I should also be man enough to say when things go right.

    For the last couple of days, with no update of any sort, no programming changes and no hardware changes, my 3 HR24s have been quick enough. Not quite as fast as with the SDGUI, but good enough that I don't grumble.
     
  9. bobcamp1

    bobcamp1 Icon

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    D* makes it. The sub-contractor has a design review before they build it, where they propose the design to D*, and D* tells them what's good and what needs to change. The chipset is almost always specified ahead of time if you already have a product line, unless you give the sub-contractor explicit instructions to look elsewhere. Different tools, different licenses, no in-house expertise, the development costs can add up really fast.
     
  10. billsharpe

    billsharpe Hall Of Fame

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    I lost my patience last October and switched to FiOS.
     
  11. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I can't disagree with you. "almost always" is reasonable, though it might be countered with Humax being used for the one with the different chips, which is their first model of the H/HR2x line.
    To add to your list would also be the projected unit cost, which may be the significant driving factor, with the follow on builds, once past development.
     
  12. Diana C

    Diana C Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    We commonly talk about the "software" like it is one piece of code. However, it is useful to keep in mind that there are, in fact, many modules and subroutines involved. The "HDGUI" changed the background images and character generator code, but did not change things like the channel tuning code, the recording managment code, or the program guide data management. That's why very little changed functionally in the HDGUI - it was JUST the presentation code.

    I'd also not make much of the different CPUs. Supporting different CPUs is probably not much more involved than a few conditional compile statements and a few different compiler parameters. IOW, the code is 99% identical. The choice of which CPU to use is more likely driven by availability and cost (and possibly the degree to which otherwise outboard functions may integrated into a single die) than by performance factors.
     
  13. bobcamp1

    bobcamp1 Icon

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    Spoken like someone who has absolutely no embedded programming experience. :D Maybe that's D*'s problem -- they're trying to keep it portable which severely limits what they do to optimize the code for speed. Yes, the highest level is in C, but you'd be crazy not to use some of the built-in functions and libraries supported by the chipset. I believe the HD GUI is a chipset function, which is why it's (supposed to be) just as fast as the SD GUI was.

    It's like the difference between RF, digital, and analog electrical engineering. One type has no clue how to design in the other realm.

    There's no CPU in the D* box, just something acting like a CPU. The lines separating microprocessing, microcontrollers, and FPGAs were blurred a long time ago. If the "processor" is only 300 MHz (666 MHz in the HR24-500), I'd bet it's just an FPGA pretending to be one or more microprocessors. Besides, who's making brand new 300 MHz processors these days?
     
  14. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    Are you suggesting that the code for all HR2x is the same?
     
  15. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    Just because something is built around an SOC doesn't mean that it doesn't have a CPU.
     
  16. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    Given the sheer numbers of boxes, and the fact that DIRECTV doesn't want to do "forklift upgrades" like Dish does (where you have to take everything out of the home to put something new in) they have to support multiple models. Now, if they EOL'd HR20, HR21, HR22, and HR23, stopped developing at all for them, they could probably really optimize HR24 and HR34, but at what cost to customer satisfaction?
     
  17. Plasman

    Plasman AllStar

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    I have 5 HR21's and they are all slow - maybe 6 seconds to fully change a channel. But then one of my boxes got unbearable with 28 second channel changes, inability to accept a 3 digit channel number from the remote and occasional packet errors when trying to play a recording. I did everything mentioned on the forums including NVRAM clear, reset everything, two RBR in succession, delete recorded shows, etc and still no improvement. So I called D* to invoke my protection plan. They kept me on the phone for 45 minutes and had me repeat many of the manuevers only to say "I'm sorry but sluggish is not a reason we are permitted to replace a receiver". I counted down 28 seconds with the rep as I tried to change a channel!! Infuriating.
     
  18. Chuck W

    Chuck W Icon

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    I agree just immediatly EOLing the older ones and stopping development isn't a good thing. However, what Directv should be doing at this point is working towards that EOLing of the 20/21/22/23's. But, based on what I am reading from people getting replacements, it doesn't seem like they are, which is a bit stunning to me. People are still being sent less than HR24's as replacements and some mentioned, as new customers they are still receiving less than HR24's.

    I'm not saying they should be replacing everyone's old HR with an HR24, but they should be removing the HR20/21/22/23 from circulation when they can. So no new customers should ever get anything BUT at least a HR24 and they should only be shipping at least HR24s as replacements. I know the installer I had last week said they have been at a point for a little while now, where he only has HR24s on their trucks. However, it doesn't sound like this is the case everywhere, as I've read otherwise.
     
  19. allenn

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    I cannot image how much it would cost D* to kill the older boxes. Also, you have all the refurbs in the warehouses. I say a lot of dollars to write-off that many boxes. Best wishes!
     
  20. dsw2112

    dsw2112 Always Searching

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    To be fair, this is a situation created by D*. The HR23 was a poor choice given the shift to SWM (and probably should not have been conceived.) The opportunity was there to optimize the HR21/22, but the choice was made to throw hardware at the problem (HR24.) Had a clear roadmap been planned the progression could have been Hr20 to HR22 (skipping the HR21 as the only difference between it and an HR22 is drive size.)

    From the reports I've read the HR22 can be a viable, and responsive receiver with different code (the new Tivo.) While hindsight is 20/20, one can't make poor choices, distance oneself from those choices, then blame those choices for the inability to progress forward.
     
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